Tag Archives: woodytheblacklab


As a city dweller, my dog-walking ritual has become a streamlined process.

The necessary supplies include:
1) treats
2) at least two poo bags
3) at least two drinks before your departure (optional)

Turns out, my regimented routine can come in handy with other dog walkers as well.

First I saw the struggle. Two dogs, one owner. The small dog wouldn’t budge—sprawled flat on the sidewalk—while the big dog pulled at the owner’s hand.

“I can’t believe I forgot the treats…” I heard the frustrated man mumble as I passed by. Having just dropped Woody the Black Lab off at home, I checked to see if I still had any goodies on board. Bingo.

“You need treats?” I inquired, handing him a random assortment of Woody’s favorites.

As the owner explained to me that the little dog requires some kind of food as an incentive to make it around the block, the big dog pooped on the sidewalk. He looked helplessly at the brownish pile and sighed.

“Let me give you a poo bag, too” I said reassuringly before continuing on my way.



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Move It: 2017 Edition

Back when all my worldly possessions amounted to a twin bed, a stack of CDs and a Mr. Coffee, I thought moving was fun. These days, things are a little different. With five bicycles, three grills and a small collection of non-Ikea, grown-up furniture, changing addresses is a stress-inducing hypothetical endeavor. Add a pretty lady, a big black dog and their stuff to the mix, and the subject of relocation is enough to inspire visions of a massive bonfire fueled by unnecessary household goods.

So when the landlord’s real estate sign went up in our yard back in June—roughly eight months after we moved in—the task before us seemed daunting. The Craigslist search. The big dog discussion. The you-want-how-much-for-the-deposit shock factor. The packing. The truck. The loading and unloading. But we did it. Mission accomplished. With a little help from a friend*. Now, as we dig our way out of the boxes, we’re up against the real-life limitations of physical space. We’ve stacked, stored, reconsidered and rearranged. I gave up on recovering the tape measure two weeks ago. I’ve come to terms with the idea of never owning a couch again. I hate shoes (other than the ones on my feet). Extra shirts seems extravagant. I find myself questioning why anyone would need more than two forks. All the things I’ve loved before are clutter and clutter is the enemy!

But one must remain calm. It’s the only option a relatively sane person has. In the end, we’re lucky to have a roof over our heads, a wonderful new neighborhood just beyond our front door and, of course, a magical sunflower watching over the entire process. Without the sunflower, I’m pretty sure the above mentioned bonfire would’ve been the first and only thing on my agenda.


Cut from my lady’s garden at our previous address, this sunflower has kept me grounded.

* I hired a mover who happens to be a nice guy and by the end of the process I considered him a friend

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The kindness of strangers.

When you have an unpredictable dog in your life, counting on the generosity of others becomes standard operating procedure. Even while that dog may be attempting to hump, playfully bite or dominate the generous stranger’s well-behaved canine. It’s a ritual I know well with Woody the black lab. Contrary to his incredibly sweet appearance on Instagram, he is an animal in the most primal sense.

This all came to a head last week on an early-morning walk. The timing was premeditated—my hope being that we’d avoid other dogs and people. But alas we ran into one of each just as two tennis balls went flying through the air. A situation I didn’t fully comprehend until it was too late, I helplessly watched as Woody went bounding toward the unsuspecting dog and its toys.

Those of you who know Woody’s history, know his taste for consuming objects—especially crushable, edible tennis balls. The routine is frustrating and predictable. He steals the ball and runs in circles until he can get it down his throat. Naturally, he won’t come anywhere near me during the process.

But I was lucky on this particular day. The other dog owner took an interest in the situation (and the possibility of getting her ball back). I talked her through the process of sneaking up on Woody, speaking to him in a soft voice and then grabbing his collar with a firm hand. She executed the moves beautifully and within seconds the glob of mucous-covered, pre-digested ball was in my hand, rather than Woody’s stomach. A $5,000 savings!

I always appreciate the courage of others and especially feel lucky when those people are random strangers. Sometimes things work out. Now I only hope I encounter this generous person again some day so I can express my gratitude and offer to replace the ill-fated ball that nearly resulted in yet another very expensive trip to the vet.

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